Aharoni Welcomes Presentation by ‘Eagles’ Wings’
On Thursday evening, March 15, the Upper East Side home of Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni was the setting for a well-received presentation of youth-oriented programs sponsored by Eagles’ Wings, the staunchly pro-Israel Christian organization.
Introducing Mr. Aharoni was Joel James, Director of Development and College Scholarships for the Israel Experience program of Eagles’ Wings. Expressing his appreciation to Mr. Aharoni for his constant support of Eagles’ Wings activities and for hosting this program at his apartment, Mr. James extended plaudits to the entire staff at the Israeli Consulate in New York and called them, “true and trusted friends.”
The audience of over 30 concerned individuals included such notable figures as Kenneth Bialkin, Chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League and a partner in the prestigious law firm of Skadden Arps, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice-president of the New York Board of Rabbis and radio talk show host, and Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, CUNY trustee and former executive assistant to New York Governor George Pataki.
Calling Eagles’ Wings, “an amazing organization that is accomplishing unprecedented things”, Aharoni recalled his first experiences with Christian Zionists. “When I came to New York before 9/11, I had worked in the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles during the mid-1990s. I met exceptionally dedicated evangelical Christian supporters of Israel in the southwest region of the United States and was so deeply impressed by their sincerity and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people,” he continued.
Aharoni referred to those in the Eagles’ Wings organization as ‘humble people” who are the “leading forces of the pro-Israel community”. Expressing his gratitude to Eagles’ Wings, he said, “Despite all the threats leveled against Israel, and with all the problems we’re facing, we value and appreciate your friendship.”
Based in Buffalo, New York, Eagles’ Wings is a global community with hubs in the New York City area; Karlsruhe, Germany; and Jerusalem, Israel. With over 1200 ministries and communities, nearly 40 full-time team members and an international family of partners, volunteers, and friends, Eagles’ Wings sponsors such programs as the International Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, periodic tours to Israel, regional conferences, the Israel Experience College program, and the annual Jerusalem Banquet.
“We are living in the best of times and the worst of times,” declared Dr. Robert Stearns, founder and executive director of Eagles’ Wings. “In the year 2000, just 12 years ago, the concept of religious Jews and Christians coming together in trust and unity was unheard of. On the other hand, we are living in peril as we face a modern day Haman, a new Hitler named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran,” he said. To that end, Dr. Stearns has authored a meticulously researched monograph entitled, No, We Can’t: Radical Islam, Militant Secularism and the Myth of Coexistence.
Vocalizing his concern for the future of Christian support for Israel, Dr. Stearns ruefully observed, “It would appear that evangelical dedication to Israel is not being effectively passed down to the younger generation”. Citing a white paper from a leading evangelical seminary that called “Christian support for Israel a Sin,” he said, “We need a clear answer to this challenge.” With that introduction, the evening was dedicated to showcasing the Eagles’ Wings Israel Experience program for college and university youth.
An intensive month-long program of education and leadership training, the Israel Experience program affords college-aged Christian youth the ability to understand the geopolitical realities that Israel faces by being there and then returning to their respective campuses throughout North America to become, “the pro-Israel Christian voice.” The Eagles’ Wings website describes the circumstances necessitating the new program.
“Ideological warfare, threatening the very future of Western civilization, is being waged on university campuses across America and around the world,” the site explains. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to student demonstrations and activism by pro-Palestinian groups fueled by hatred for Israel and Jews. The university should be a place of open discussion and an exchange of ideas, not a forum for hatred and intimidation.”
Several young Christian graduates of the Israel Experience program addressed the gathering saying that the program “empowers and prepares you to go back to your campus to organize and speak out for Israel.” Hannah Johnson, an Israel Experience participant who attends Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey said, “Rutgers is renowned for being a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish animus. With the proliferation of radical Palestinian organizations on campus along with an extremely leftist student body and administration, this is a place where there is an urgent need for a pro-Israel Christian message and we need even more voices of this kind.”
Ms. Johnson, who heads the Christians United for Israel chapter at Rutgers said that obtaining organizational status on campus was no easy feat. “The administration tried to deny us the opportunity to organize and speak out, but after a protracted battle we eventually won.”
Ryan Mauro, another Israel Experience Program graduate, is currently a commentator for FOX News and an adviser on radical Islam for the Christian Action Network. “Our voices get drowned out in the sphere of higher education and this impacts students,” said Mr. Mauro. “We need to counter the avalanche of anti-Israel propaganda on college campuses. We tell tens of millions of people what we experienced in Israel and why they should stand with Israel. This is precisely why the Israel Experience program sponsored by Eagles’ Wings is unrivaled.”
Dr. Stearns concluded the program by thanking those assembled and announcing the Eagles’ Wings upcoming Jerusalem Banquet that will take place on Thursday evening, May 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square. “This gala event will focus on celebrating Jerusalem and our shared values, while mobilizing global Christian support for Israel,” he said. Among those noted leaders expected to address the banquet will be Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, and FOX television talk show host and former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. The guest of honor will be Harvey Krueger.
[Editor’s note: The above report is being shared with our readers because of its potential significance for Israel and for those engaged in pro-Zionist activism. While the Jewish Voice encourages work being done on behalf of the State of Israel by Jews and non-Jews alike (including the Evangelical Christian community), this story is not intended as an endorsement of missionary activities directed at Jews by Eagles’ Wings or any of their affiliates, which we unequivocally denounce.]
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